Parking Reconciliation Issues Explained
Many organisations responsible for parking/ management of parking will experience some degree of difficulty in parking reconciliation to validate parking revenues. Why is this?
A couple of decades ago it was straightforward. Coins inserted, coins collected, coins counted, BINGO.
Unfortunately for parking operators, it is now a lot more disparate. With digital payments ever-increasing, we saw the introduction of card payments through phone calls. Then technology advanced, and we began to see chip & pin and contactless pads integrated onto parking machines. Now, consumer demands for flexibility has seen the introduction of cashless payment apps from third parties. On top of that, permits, fines and penalties add to the complexity of parking reconciliation.
Awkwardly, with all these advancements for the consumer, improvements for workers in the back office managing and reconciling these figures are not as regular. Commonly, we are still stuck with outdated systems, lengthy processes and a workforce who often oppose change. The struggle for profits only becomes greater.
Let’s take a look at the key problems faced.
1. Cash Collections For Parking Devices
Whether done internally or outsourced, the control of cash payments is vital for transparency and assurance. The typical cash process comprises a cash journey. Insert cash into parking devices, collect the cash, collect an audit ticket, count the cash, deposit and bank the cash. Additionally, you may have online parking systems. Data passes from one person to another, to another. It is no surprise that decreased transparency is often an outcome of this process. Not to mention the missing data, incomplete reconciliations, and unresolved exceptions that diminish assurance. A robust tracking and reconciliation process is necessary.
Additionally, cash payments have continued to decline in recent years, accelerated through the Covid-19 Pandemic. In fact, cash payments are forecast to make up only 9% of parking payments by 2028. Cash is likely to remain at a residual level as it continues to be an integral part of the UK economy. Therefore, as demand for cash continues, there need to be infrastructures to manage and control these payments.
2. Offline & Online Parking Systems
Often, an integrated parking system, where all payments across the board are expensive to integrate. It requires technology enhancements to all parking devices, a questionable expense given the current decline in cash payments. Organisations that have online parking systems may experience an added level of transparency. However, although you have won half the battle by having the data, do you know what to do with it? There is a demand for both offline and online parking devices to have a centralised parking reconciliation system to record and transform data into meaningful analytics fuelling decisions and objectives.
3. Reconciliation of Multiple Revenue Streams
Different organisations use an array of tools to keep up with the digital demand for payments. First, you manage cash payments. You may outsource the cash collections, counting and depositing. Secondly, you may have phone call/ text, chip & pin and contactless pads paid to an internal or external account. Third, you may have a cashless payment solution to manage the demand for flexibility from consumers. Fourth, you might have several online products such as permits, season tickets, prebook and so much more. And then there are fines and penalties…
Do you see? As consumer trends and business needs continue to change, a once simply payments network has grown many branches.
4. Lack Of Validation From Third-Party Cashless Payment Providers
Not only are the validation of the entire payment network difficult to achieve, but on an individual level, it can be a headache to perform effective financial controls. Third-party cashless payment providers can provide a vital service that some organisations cannot provide themselves. However, sometimes the internal validation of the data provided cannot provide 100% assurance. Why is this?
The fundamentals of reconciliation are the comparison of two sets of data to identify any discrepancies. For complete assurance, these data sets should be from two different sources. Concerning third-party cashless payment providers, internal parking reconciliations are normally conducted with two sets of data provided by this third party. Therefore, there is no internal control to validate these numbers.
It’s Not All Bad News
Fortunately, you can resolve the problems addressed using a solution that integrates the entire reconciliation process. Here is how Sonas overcomes the above mention issues.
Cash Collections For Parking Devices
The Sonas solution consists of a mobile application that captures photographic evidence of the cash journey, concerning parking devices. In essence, the solution pieces together the pieces of the puzzle and gives you a complete documented audit trail of the cash journey. In turn, this data feeds directly into automatic reconciliations, giving you validation with high assurance.
Offline & Online Parking Systems
Whether you have online or offline parking systems, Sonas can collate all data from cash and digital transactions. Consequently, transactions can be matched off at the click of a button, no matter the format of the files. Additionally, now the data is recorded, Sonas provides automated reports, giving you key insights into revenues, KPI’s and operations.
Reconciliation of Multiple Revenue Streams
With Sonas’ transactional reconciliation capabilities, you can have a holistic view of your entire complex payment network. Simply upload the various files from cash, card, cashless payment providers and other payments and be rewarded with a transparent overview of your parking revenue streams.
Validation of Third-Party Cashless Payment Providers
To provide effective financial controls and validate third-party cashless payment providers, Sonas facilitates the reconciliation of sample checks. Sample checks can be undertaken by traffic wardens checking the ‘white list’. In other words, an internal set of data to compare to the external data provided. This reconciliation will equip you with a true and assured position of cashless parking revenue.
If you wish to discover additional benefits of our solution, get in touch today!